I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. More than usual. And I’ve been getting a lot of clarity.
This has been a year of letting go. I’ve been letting go of the past, things that happened in my childhood, but mostly people. I’ve let go of a lot of people this year.
I’m not only talking about death. I’m talking about living and breathing people. Earlier this year I blogged about a friendship breakup that I went through and how it affected me.While that friendship died in a gigantic explosion it had a ripple effect that caused quite a few other friendships to die quiet deaths.
Another occurrence that is making me drift away from people is my father’s untimely death. I was very surprised by how different people reacted to it. What I found most surprising, yet also upsetting was that I found comfort from the most unlikely people – people who barely knew me, friends who I’ve only known for a little while. The other night I even had a very healing and eye opening conversation with one of my Grindr guys. It was lovely.
But it was also sad.
I was disappointed by many of my friends. The people I’ve walked a long path with. People I thought would be there in times like these when I really need someone to lean on. They weren’t there.
I made the news about my father known on Facebook and shortly thereafter I posted the blog post. I chose to do this instead of sending everyone messages or waiting for them to find out about it through the grapevine and attach different stories. Immediately I was flooded by messages from people sending their condolences, even people that I’ve been estranged from for years. But I still noticed the glaring absence of those I expected to hear from.
I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I thought that perhaps they hadn’t been on Facebook yet or that they missed the blog post, but as time went by I realized that this was unlikely.
I contacted some of them because, well, they’re my fucking friends, and I wanted to hear how they were doing and tell them about something. And that was a mistake. Somewhere in the conversation they would work in a little “sorry about your dad”. Fuck. Thanks a lot. I even reached out to a friend who I wanted to see before I left Pretoria for the year
“I’m leaving Pretoria tomorrow.”
“I know. I heard about your dad. Sorry.”
Well thanks. I guess.
Needless to say, I didn’t end up seeing her. I was disappointed, because I thought about what I would have done, what I HAVE done in times when she was in need. No matter how busy I was, I made a plan. I was there.
I realize that people often get freaked out by things like death. They don’t know how to handle those affected by it. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to say anything. Just be there. Your presence is what’s needed. You don’t need to say any profound thing that is going to change my life. Having you around is enough.
I know (even though they won’t say it) that many people feel that I don’t really have the right to be affected by my father’s death because of the nature of our relationship. I also find that sentiment unfair. We had a history, however intense and dysfunctional, and it died with him. When a person in your life dies it has a profound effect on you. It changes you forever.
I realize that I am probably writing off a few friendships by posting this. People tell me that I isolate myself from others which causes my loneliness, and this is true. But I value loyalty above anything else. I detest small talk. I have no time for superficial friendships. I have no time for “good time friends”. I believe in friendships that last through the good and the bitterly bad times. Therefore I know that I am now the reason for my isolation, but I choose to have it that way.
After all, I can only hurt myself so much.
“My motto is the same as ever. I believe in the kindness of strangers.” ~ Lana Del Rey